The search is on for the UK’s best neighbour and community champion

Co-op Insurance and Neighbourhood Watch have officially opened up nominations for their Neighbour of the Year Award 2019, to find the UK’s best neighbours.

Following on from the success of last year’s inaugural award, Co-op and Neighbourhood Watch are looking once again for people to nominate their neighbours who go above and beyond to help their neighbourhood and surrounding community, to find the UK’s Neighbour of the Year 2019.

Additionally this year sees the introduction of a new category to crown someone the ‘2019 Community Spaces Champion’. The new award will celebrate someone who has shown commitment to either save, improve, or use a local space for the good of their neighbours or overall community.

The ‘Community Space Champion’ comes as Co-op partners with charity, Locality, to launch an Endangered Spaces campaign to protect, support and improve 2,000 at-risk community spaces by 2022.

A panel of judges from Co-op and Neighbourhood Watch will be deciding who will be the overall Neighbour of the Year winner, and who will be crowned Community Space Champion in November. There will also be regional prizes up for grabs.

Last year, Co-op members created a criteria for what makes a good neighbour in today’s society, resulting in four traits which entries for Neighbour of the Year will be judged on this year:

Traits of a good neighbour:

  • Good neighbours look out for each other, for example keeping an eye on the house
  • Good neighbours are sociable and friendly – happy for a chat or a party invitation
  • They’re practically helpful – from taking in parcels to offering help with the plumbing
  • They’re kind, caring and respectful – more specifically thinking about the impact they have on neighbours

Meanwhile the Community Spaces Champion Award will be judged on how people have used a space in their local area to make a difference. This will be things such as setting up a sports match for neighbours at a local park; creating a community garden; setting up a support group in a community; or even helping to save a space from being shut down.

Last year’s Neighbour of the Year winner, Paul Zeun came from Sheffield and was nominated by his neighbour, Abby. Paul, 53, was commended for his consistent caring and neighbourly behaviour over the past decade.

Research from Co-op Insurance revealed that last year that a third (31%) said that they’d love to be friendlier with their neighbours, whereas this year, only a fifth (22%) said the same.

It also seems that people think that they aren’t getting on with their neighbours as much this year, as just 18% said that they get on better with their neighbours now than they did five years ago, whereas last year, a third (30%) said that they got on better.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom, as the year-on-year research results revealed that around the same amount of people would say that they’re good friends with their neighbours (2019: 36%, 2018: 35%).

Caroline Hunter, Head of Home Insurance at Co-op said:

“We’re really looking forward to seeing what the second year of this competition will bring.

“We know that people are doing great things as neighbours, and in their overall community, so we’re looking forward to hearing about these people and celebrating those neighbours who are doing things that are extra special in their community.”

Rebecca Birkbeck, Director Community and Shared Value at Co-op said:

“Everything we do is rooted in our members and the communities we serve, and these awards encapsulate just that.

“To see the range of entries we get this year will be fantastic; we expect these awards will show just how important a sense of community wellbeing is, and how spaces play such a crucial role in allowing people to come together to ensure happy and healthy communities.”

John Hayward-Cripps, CEO of Neighbourhood Watch Network, said:

“With so much focus recently on what divides us, it’s good to be reminded of the ordinary people who make our nation great. The kind, every-day deeds of neighbours help create safe, secure and happy neighbourhoods where people, families and communities thrive. That’s something we can all unite behind. I look forward to seeing the nominations to be reminded just how wonderful people can be.”

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